An Introduction to the world of a Business Administration Apprentice
Before I started my apprenticeship, I was at St Wilfrid’s RC Sixth Form studying A Levels in ICT, English Language and English Literature, having got an AS level in Philosophy and Ethics in my first year. I had previously gone to school there for my GCSE’s, so to me, it felt like the obvious choice for further education. However, most of the people in my year group were doing A Levels to go to university, and there wasn’t much room for anything else.
After attempting a personal statement knowing I never intended to apply to any universities, I raised the issue with my head of year that there was no options for people who didn’t want to go to university. This prompted him to bring in an external company that helped me and a small group of other students on my road of not knowing what I wanted to do when leaving school, and with continuous support I got a two year apprenticeship in the local council. I knew I had the grades for university, but wasn’t sure what I wanted to do with them and that maybe I could apply again in the future when I was sure on a vocation I wanted to pursue.
I was always reminded that on the contrary of popular beliefs, it is okay to not have your life planned out; if you do that’s great, but not everyone is born knowing what they want to do for the rest of their lives. So, upon hearing about the apprenticeship at Siemens with Tynemet, I decided to apply, as I thought it was an amazing opportunity and something I could really develop a career in, including the NVQ academic side and learning life skills along the way.
This apprenticeship was advertised by Siemens on the National Government Apprenticeship site, which I had been keeping an eye on. Furthermore, it was also advertised on the Siemens website, and I’d heard about it from a few people I knew. I went to the open day for the five apprenticeships on offer to learn about each individually, and was taken aback by how professional the building and environment was, and first impressions were very impressive. Although this was nerve wracking, Siemens employees understood we were young and took this into consideration, not over estimating us in the interview and introduction stages.
On a typical day at work I will support my team members in the sale of Wind Turbine parts and modifications/upgrades for the aftermarket (Post Warranty). This means dealing with customers on a day to day basis, whether it be queries or requests for quotations, getting pricing for parts and materials, adhering to contracts and selling. Our main goal is to sell and provide an excellent customer service as well as maintaining strong customer relationships that meets the standards and reputation that Siemens has built.
This may include admin work, dealing directly with customers, usually in the form of providing proposals for upgrades and spare parts, and actually processing these orders in our internal system. I will also occasionally travel to meet customers face to face, and have visited customers in Scotland and Denmark amongst other places, to maintain a working customer relationship and build a foundation of trust by making the effort to meet face to face.
I enjoy the fact I am gaining hands on experience in a reputable global company with the added bonus of gaining a qualification. I have met some amazing people and developed my skills and experience new things in a way I never thought I would. When I started, I had no idea how well I’d adapt to work. I like the fact Siemens promotes a healthy work-life balance, and they really do have their employee’s best interests and show a genuine concern for their well being.
I enjoy my day to day experiences in a fast paced environment and a year on and I’m still learning something new every day. I get along with so many people in the business and have developed some excellent working relationships.
In my apprenticeship, not only have I learnt how a business works, but I have also made solid relationships with the people around me, not just in my team, but other teams in different parts of the business. I have gained so much confidence compared to when I started, pushing myself completely out of my comfort zone and travelling to places as far as Denmark, even flying on my own for the first time. I have learnt how to present myself in a professional manner to customers and internally, and have learnt so much about what the business does and have taken a genuine interest in wanting to contribute to the business’ and my teams goals to the best of my ability.
I have also learnt a lot about business administration through my NVQ, which is not just applicable to my area of work. I know now, wherever I may end up in the future, that this qualification will not be bypassed and any skills I have picked up along the way will be recognized and respected. Once I have finished, my commitment to a four year apprenticeship will be reflected in how much I will have grown as a person, with my confidence and life skills.
Throughout my first year I have found Tynemet to be an excellent training provider; the college side of things may be expected to hinder people’s interest in an apprenticeship, but I can honestly say this hasn’t been an issue. I have adapted to balancing working life and college work nicely, and Siemens always understand if we need time to do our college work, or if we need any extra support.
Also, I feel completely comfortable approaching my tutor, Ailsa, for any help; as she comes to visit us, I understand she is only ever an email or a phone call away and would always be happy to help us with any support or queries. Her visits never get in the way as they are planned in advance and we are always well informed, and we keep her well informed if we are unable to attend our next appointment for any reason. We always have enough time to complete assignments, and deadlines are always made clear, which is usually are next appointment. There is a good record of our work kept and the progress we are making, with the option for the people you work closely with to make comments, especially your line manager. The relevant people are always kept in the loop with what you are doing, making it hard to be unsuccessful as all the support and help you need are in your immediate surroundings.
Whenever we have visited the college for exams, we have always been made to feel very welcome and had a relaxed, organized experience to ensure our minds are fully focused on the exam. We have always been prepped well in advance for upcoming examinations, with any support and guidance being readily available.